Soft versus Hard Steel

Not open for further replies.
I see literally TONS of scrap pipe either dumped in the can or sold to recyclers every year for one good's worthless.
the pipe we use in our natural gas system was made for one purpose....carrier pipe. it requires a certain hoop stress rating, and if used for a state job it has to be made in the USA. that's's carrier pipe. it's not made for any other purpose.

This idea of somehow incorporating not only pipe steel but exploded pipe into making a knife is actually blasphemous to the cutlery industry, although you may find some fine Pakistani gent that will happily marry some scrap pipe with a car bumper to make some ebay Damascus.

Actually your pipes are worth more in one piece as a quench tank then blown to smithereens.
I think everyone here is telling you your beating a dead horse. it's garbage, toss it and move on.
Now if you want to sell some of those explosives I might be interested.
I’ve read the threads, and I guess I’m confused as to what the point would be in using exploded pipe, when I can buy clean, uniform, purpose made steel that doesn’t need additional processing and hasn’t been exploded?

But just for the sake of argument, let’s say that you can guarantee a piece of “structurally sound shrapnel” that can be forged into a fully functional knife...

I can see you commissioning a piece from a maker for your own use, sure.

I can even fathom a small amount of makers using the material to make some knives, or at the very least, to practice forging.

I get the unique or the “cool” factor (to an extent), but I still don’t see you repurposing more than a very very small fraction of material, however, and that’s all still assuming that a piece would be suitable to begin with, which chances are likely, it may not be.

Instead of asking how to recycle shrapnel, I’d be more curious if you could eliminate schrapnel from the process altogether. If not, I’d just include the price of consumables (i.e. the pipe) into the product and sell what I could to the scrap man. Steel IS in fact one of the most highly recycleable materials, so I gaurantee it’ll still be put to good use, and most likely something much more suited then a questionable quality knife.
Hi John, it's already been established that Ken and some others he knows would be interested in doing this under the conditions mentioned. I trust his opinion and respect that you may see things differently, which is totally cool.

Why bother to make a knife from my shrapnel? Well, you said it would be something worth doing provided the scrap has significance. My goal is to recycle, reuse, and possibly generate revenue from all waste streams. My process involves detonating an explosive I have patented and collecting the powder that is produced, which is ultra fine to coarse diamond-enhanced ceramic oxide powders used in industrial polishing.

Although I could be wrong, my perception is that there is no reliable source of metal shrapnel produced from an explosive detonation with pieces big enough to make knives from. I therefore see value examining whether converting some shrapnel into knives is possible, especially when it emerges from detonation in a shape that is already knife-like. That would make a great giveaway to owners of, or the corporate board of the abrasives companies I am working with. There's this big pipe in my living room consisting of fragments of broken steel, spot-welded together to re-create the moment of detonation. Some people find stuff like that kinda cool for no other reason that because it came from an explosion.

There are business and environmental angles I consider as well. Producing this powder under a US production strategy could potentially offset a significant percentage of abrasives imports from China worth about $500 million per year. Since your government aims to improve its economy by producing more steel locally and burning coal to drive that endeavour, my technology would produce an incentive to smoothly engage with an improved local manufacturing sector rather than to corporately outsource it for the benefit of the Board and its investors. And I would become a customer buying many tons of American steel, annually. All of that contributes to a stronger economy.

Burning coal produces carbon dioxide waste, which is vented to the atmosphere unless there is a business-driven financial incentive to clean and capture it. My process involves converting compressed carbon dioxide into dry ice, which is then blended with other things to make the explosive that detonates to consume the CO2 and produce the powders I mentioned. Therein lies what I perceive to be the incentive.

Finding a use for the shrapnel lowers the overall production cost. The lower the overall production cost, the greater the impact of my plan. The bottom line is whether the success of my plan is considered significant or not. My thinking is that those who see significance might like knives made from my shrapnel. For example, I always get rave reviews and over-the-top reactions when we distribute Shrapnel Jewellery giveaways because it looks nice and lots of people seem to like the idea about it coming from such a novel explosion.

My research on metals to make knives is complete. There are other things I would like to understand that I will address in another thread. Thank you, everyone, for your much appreciated input.
Daren, just to be clear these metal shrapnel pieces you refer to are large enough to make a knife? OR - are they a bunch of tiny pieces that will require forge welding to get one larger piece?

Daren, since this is an established business, can you provide a website link to your company so we can read about the process there?
Hi Ken,

Most of the shrapnel is small, but the pieces I am approaching your group with are the larger ones. I have a lot of videos and pics on my intro thread, however, I am happy list a few things here:

1. Here's the shrapnel from a full pipe when we select pieces about 1" or larger. Only maybe a few of the larger pieces might qualify as potential knife candidates.EnviroDiamond Pipe Shrapnel.jpg

2. Here is a selection of longer pieces that we tend to produce when making synthetic spinel powder by detonating aluminum, magnesium and dry ice together. There are the main types of pieces I'm thinking ight be good for making swords or knives:
3. My website is and you can review my process there or google my patent online: US 8,506,920 B2

Drew brings up an interesting point about eliminating pipes altogether. That would certainly be the most cost effective approach - to shoot repeatedly in a containment system that is reusable.

One of my investors paid to build a block of steel with a 6" hole in the center. It was many 1/2" plates stacked over a 6" OD pipe with a 4" ID. It didn't go as well as we had planned:

Daren Filling The 4" Cavity with a Dry Ice Mixture:

The outcome: The bracing became damaged, some of the plates were seriously bent, the inner pipe was gizmoed, and the two heavy wooden blocks the assembly had been sitting on were destroyed and burned. The powder that was produced, however, contained remarkably larger diamond-like particles than with the consumable pipe approach.


That approach needs some fine tuning, but there is certainly merit in further investigation. A part of me would like to see what happens if I used a longer block and shot the material sideways at the two ends at the same time, progressing to the center.

Regardless - thanks for the feedback, everyone.
If I said I can have the piece subjected to a test to determine the presence of any inner microfractures through X-Ray, and give you a piece of undamaged 1080 shrapnel, and a certificate of analysis, I'm not giving you the gears or trolling or whatever else. I'm just having a conversation to see if you can work with my shrapnel and working with the stuff you tell me.
Personally I would not make anything like a tool or blade with it because I know it was blown up. I am a general blacksmith more than a blade smith so I would perhaps forge a doorstop, oil Betty or some other decorative item from it but never a blade. That is just my choice and my opinion. I really have to ask you a question though so I can understand where you are coming from. Why would you go through the expense of using more expensive high carbon steel and then testing and certifying of this shrapnel just so you could give me a piece to make a knife. I cannot follow your logic.
That's interesting, Chris. Thanks.

The answer to your question lies within how explosives work and the economics of something called abrasive utility. The harder steel would induce a faster velocity of detonation (VOD). The pressure produced from detonation is proportional to VOD^2, and a higher VOD prolongs the time for compressed material to recoil after being subjected to higher pressure. These factors all work together to increase the percentage of diamond observed in the carbon phase of the powders produced where the total carbon content is 5% - 10%.

Abrasive utility is worth billions of dollars because of how the manufacturing sector is driven by abrasives. It can be thought of as the amount of material that can be removed through the consumption of a certain amount of abrasive with a fixed amount of time. China currently controls over 90% of global abrasives manufacture.

So, using harder carbon steel consumable assemblies should theoretically increase the abrasive utility of the powders I produce. The best outcome is to be able to put some of the shrapnel through channels that help recover some or possibly all of that cost.
I understand Chris's (and other folks) concern about the steel having experienced an explosion, but with a check to assure the steel doesn't contain microfractures I don't really see a problem with making a knife from it. Especially a "decorative" knife to display on wall or desk as built from the shrapnel from your process. I can see it being quite nice displayed on your desk. I can see a couple or more chucks of steel that would make a nice display knife. It would need to be an alloy with >.60% carbon to harden very good at all. BUT, even a railroad spike will harden enough to get sharp, and they are only around .40% for the High Carbon (HC) spikes. Especially using Robb Gunter's "Super Quench" I think even a .40% steel would harden just fine for a display knife which would be "paper slicing" sharp, but wouldn't hold an edge very long at all.

Thinking about it, even some nice "jagged" spots along the spine might look good to showcase the shrapnel origins of the steel.

Remember, we're talking "desk display" type blades here.
.....The best outcome is to be able to put some of the shrapnel through channels that help recover some or possibly all of that cost.

Setting aside the likelihood of permanantly damaging the steel in the explosion TEMPORARILY to address the above portion of your response:

After seeing the actual scraps, (they're too thin to grind down to clean steel so this is dead at the onset, but I'll humor you) you would need hundreds of them to get enough steel for a blade. It would take SO much work to get enough material for a solid billet big enough for a knife that paying for your costs is out of the question....even partially.

I can assure you that if I ever lost my mind and attempted this endeavour, that my price to cover all the work involved in making a blade from your scraps would be so high that you would lose money on your process many hundreds of times over.

But hey.........I wish you and whatever bladesmith you convince to attempt this the best of luck.
The best outcome is to be able to put some of the shrapnel through channels that help recover some or possibly all of that cost.

I seriously doubt you'll be able to do any better than scrap price for your raw shrapnel, at which point you might as well just take what a scrap yard will give you to recycle it. Yes, makers are willing to pay a premium for steel, but that's for specific alloys that are rolled to tolerance, annealed, and very uniform. The "repurposed" steel that sells above scrap price will be steel that has some kind of broader reaching historical significance, like "this is an alloy that's not cast anymore" or "this came out of a battleship" or "this was part of the world trade center".

Looking at the shrapnel, I don't really see anything that looks like it's on its way to becoming a knife, though you could certainly make some canister damascus with the smaller pieces I suppose. It'd have to be cleaned well first.

Just my opinion, for what it's worth.
Hi Ken - That is a fantastic attitude. Thanks. I always figured there should be no problem in attempting to make a knife from the right steel from my process under the condition it is microfracture-free. Regardless, the jagged steel would look nice all polished and converted into a knife or sword or perhaps other piece of art.

Hi John - the pieces are 1/8" to 1/2" thick. If I deliberately use thicker steel the shrapnel will be thicker. Some have jagged tapered edges that are very thin. If you think your fee to work with my shrapnel is too high in your opinion, then that merely restricts me to the other guys who have already indicated a willingness to try. Thanks for sharing your comments.

Hi Drew - Good ideas. I'm not necessarily looking to make money from the makers as my focus is on the financials of dealing with my existing scrap and the upcoming scrap from a big potential polishing powder order that will produce tons of shrapnel. I'm looking at many options such as, but not limited to, the following:

1) Sell the scrap as scrap metal: lowest return

2) Sell the shrapnel as a crafting supply: to knife/sword makers, hobbyists, welders, forge dudes etc...

3) Hire many makers to work with my steel to produce products that we would manage the sale and distribution of as either giveaways or items that we sell

4) Pay an appropriate maker skilled in knifemaking to train a group for me, buy the equipment needed to make knives/swords ourselves, and create a company dedicated to processing the scrap into something we can sell either as craft material

There are other options I am considering as well. The comment on Damascus is interesting because I've already considered using the smaller bits to do this through an improvised method that uses explosive shock wave energy to explosively weld the materials together.

I'm thinking of calling that material Splodamascus Steel - lol.
Knife making is pretty difficult and time consuming........and it isn't very profitable.

If only there was a way to make it EVEN MORE difficult and MORE time consuming ........ but LESS profitable.........and throw in an inherent risk of catastrophic failure.........that would be fantastic!:rolleyes:
Knife making is pretty difficult and time consuming........and it isn't very profitable.

If only there was a way to make it EVEN MORE difficult and MORE time consuming ........ but LESS profitable.........and throw in an inherent risk of catastrophic failure.........that would be fantastic!:rolleyes:
Ok, that is funny I do not care who you are.
Not open for further replies.